Thursday, July 21, 2011

Outrunning Cancer: A Hometown Gal

Special thanks to Aunt Cindy for sending me this story (and apologies for the 4 weeks it took me to actually get it online). There are still a few days left to check out Runner's World's "Outrunning Cancer" series - the story of seven runners beating the odds with their oh so humbling stories of survival. We're especially proud of hometown gal Jennifer Andress, as featured below from The Birmingham News

HOMEWOOD, Alabama -- Since the July issue of Runner's World magazine hit newsstands, Homewood marathoner Jennifer Andress hasn't stopped hearing from her running buddies who've seen her smiling face all around the country.

Andress, a breast cancer survivor, is one of seven runners featured on the cover of a special issue of the magazine that is devoted to cancer survivors and their inspirational stories.

"One of my good friends that I run with was in New Orleans at the airport, and he took a picture (of the magazine cover)," Andress says. "I have friends just traveling through the country, and they would be at LaGuardia, in Baltimore, Dallas, and they would send pictures from the airport."

The 42-year-old Andress, who started running when she was 11, was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago, when she was 24 weeks pregnant with her second son, Will.

She had a mastectomy and six lymph nodes removed, and after her son was born, she underwent five weeks of radiation, followed by a second mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery.

Within a couple of years, though, she was back on the running trail with a vengeance.
"I would still always run, but not nearly what I'm doing now, not with the intensity and not with the frequency," she says.

In 2010, Andress ran her first marathon in Birmingham's Mercedes Marathon, covering the 26.2-mile course in 3 hours and 43 minutes.

Her time was good enough to qualify her for the prestigious Boston Marathon this spring, where she ran a 3:46 and earned a return invitation to Boston in 2012.

"I'm running five days a week now, and I'm training with this incredible group," she says. "I'm back."

Runner's World produced eight different covers for its "Outrunning Cancer" issue. The seven that are available at newsstands feature each of the survivors on separate covers and an eighth that went to subscribers has a second shot of Olympic hopeful Serena Burla.

David Willey, the magazine's editor-in-chief, writes about Andress and three other survivors in his Editor's Letter column that appears in all copies of the July issue. The other survirors are featured in separate stories in the magazine.

For her cover shot, Andress wears a white T-shirt emblazoned with the pink logo for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama.

Runner's World learned about Andress after she responded to a post on the magazine's Facebook page asking runners who were cancer survivors to share their stories.

The July issue should be available through the end of this month.

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